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Published: February 20th 2017
We wandered around China, from Beijing to Shanghai, on a small group tour in November 2016. Due to a combination of generally very poor & slow WiFi together with a hectic schedule I was unable to do a travel blog. So somewhat belatedly, this is going to be a short summarised version of the whole three week tour together with a selection of the best photographs.
We arrived in China, tired but excited to be visiting another country with a totally different culture and many wonderful sights to see. In Beijing, prior to joining our tour, we visited the Forbidden City Palace Museum, the Lama Temple - a colourful Tibetan-style Buddhist Temple and the Olympic Park. Travelling was relatively easy around the city using the modern Metro System. We enjoyed a Peking Duck dinner and also went on an Old Beijing Food Walking tour around the small traditional Hutongs, visiting restaurants and eating food we would not have done independently.
After joining up with our Tour Group we started our hectic schedule, re-visiting the Forbidden City Palace Museum and going on to Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace & Temple of Heaven and then finally the Great Wall of China
- something not easily missed!! A wonderful experience to actually walk along the Great Wall!!
A Bullet train whisked us from Beijing to Xi'An in 6 hours at speeds of up to 305Km/hr!! Xi'An was an interesting city somewhat spoilt by the cloudy, misty and rainy weather - something we would get use to as the tour progressed. The Terracotta Warriors were as spectacular as we were expecting. A Dumpling Meal was tasty while we were enthralled by a colourful Shaanxi Cultural Show of traditional music and dance.
A walk along Beiyuanmen Street, aka Muslim Food Street, was certainly an experience with numerous stalls and food carts selling many interesting looking foods and many decidedly exotic appearing morsels! It did, however, provide an excellent photographic bonanza!!
The Li River day cruise, from Guilin to Yangshuo, passing through limestone karst scenery was scenic but turned into a wet atmospheric experience in the heavy rain and low cloud!!
A relatively short flight took us to Chengdu where the stars of the show were Giant Pandas - another tick on WanderingAlison's list of must-sees!! The close encounters, at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre, certainly were memorable and the
young cubs were so cute!!
Sichuan Hotpot, the local meal-out, provide a wonderful hot & spicy but delicious experience for the group - where mastery of the chopsticks was required, so that the tasty morsels of food were not lost in the boiling & seething "Hotpot" of chillies!!
Another flight found us in the mega-city of Chongqing, 33 million people live in the city and surrounding district. We boarded our cruise boat here for a three day cruise along the Yangtze River passing through the three gorges. Unfortunately the spectacular scenery was partly marred by drizzle, low cloud & heavy fog!! We visited Fengdu - "Ghost City" - a steep walk up 300 steps passing through Buddhist & Taoist Temples with scary "Ghost Statues" trying to avoid being sent into the underworld!! - aha the myths & legends of China!
Finally Shanghai, the most Westernised city we had visited. Walking along The Bund, with colonial buildings on one side and the modern skyscrapers of The Pudong on the other side of the river show how China is rapidly changing - however traditional tea-tasting houses still remain!!
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